Finger Lakes Confessions: Trout Roots

I’ve been pretty salty lately and I have no plans on changing that any time soon. The salt and the fishes it holds kidnapped my mind some time ago, but life has funny ways of leading you down different paths, teaching little lessons along the way. As of now, it’s led me back to my home waters and to my fishing roots…these magnificent creatures called…Trout.

Trout roots 8Brown Trout

I remember watching Taylor reeling in a hefty Speckled Trout in North Carolina. As I watched the “trout” come to the net without much of a fight, I was thinking “That’s not a trout. The trout I’m used to fight like a pissed off grizzly bear compared to that thing.”  And I was right: the Speckled Trout or Sea Trout are actually in the drum family. Not to hate on the Speckled Trout, they are beautiful fish and I enjoy fishing for them, but not what I think of when I hear the word trout.

trout roots312 inches of gold lightning 

Fast forward 8 months. I’m fishing a small stream close to home, crawling on my hands and knees stalking a little bend pool littered with little log jams. I make a few casts into the pool trying to avoid a snag in the logs as I drift a worm down the pool and on the 3rd or 4th drift “Bam” like a bolt of lighting I’m hooked up with a little Brown Trout. The pool erupts with flashes of gold and as I try to keep the Brown Trout out of the logs, it comes flying out of the water thrashing its body in a violent attempt to throw the hook. The little trout comes splashing down and splashing up the shallow edge of the pool throwing up water and silt as it darts upstream. I manage to keep it out of the logs as it’s thrashing back and forth with golden glory. I quickly decide to land the trout before it makes another reach for the sky or the logs. “Now this is a trout,” I’m thinking, as it’s still giving me a fight in my hands. trout roots2A Finger Lakes Tributary Brown Trout

My journey down my trout roots has been full of nostalgia, as it has taken me back to places I fished when I was a kid with my dad crawling on our hands and knees gazing in pools full of trout in awe. It’s also been tainted with some grief and frustration as some of those places are now thoroughly posted and extremely hard to access. But as I grow older and life changes, it’s some kind of feeling gazing into those same little stream pools from what seemed like so long ago and see those trout unchanged, still hungry, and still just as majestic. Trout roots 10A Majestic Brown Trout

As I’m rediscovering my trout roots Taylor has been growing her own trout roots. From her first Lake Trout on the ice and first open water Laker, to her first stream Brown Trout.

Taylor with a nice trio of trout

As I go deeper down my roots I discover they are always growing and after picking up the fly rod last year it’s been in my hands quite often since then. Not only have I been busy with the fly rod I’ve been busy at the tying vise. And it’s great feeling catching these magnificent creatures on your own craft. Trout were made for the fly rod, even big trout eat little bugs and tying these little bugs can be almost as fun as catching fish on them.

It’s a great feeling catching trout on flies tied by your own hands 

In the Finger Lakes we are blessed with many trout options, from small streams with colorful little trout to big lakes with trophy sized trout. Trout fishing can be as simple as some worms, hooks and split shots or as involved as the fly rod and tying your own flies or getting on the lake trolling with planer boards and down riggers. But my trout roots are in the streams and there’s a special kind of peace that one can only experience on a trout stream. Maybe it’s watching the whole life and death cycle unfold right in front of your eyes in a matter of minutes or maybe it’s the sight and sound of the water rushing by your feet or maybe… it’s not meant to be understood or explained, just experienced.

trout roots 11There are many ways to catch trout and many things they teach us along the way. As spring begins to unfold and trout waters begin to bloom, life seems to burst out of all the little corners of the earth, from under rocks and logs, to the sky and the water itself. The renewal of spring begins and we are hypnotized by the show, forced to slow down and watch, all because of these creatures called Trout.

Photography by Saxton and Taylor 

All photography in this article is property of




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